caught weeping in the town centre leaning. Beside a dusty monument with a hauf-eaten sandwich at his feet and a mouthfulfalling fae his mouth he thought that moment significant in his history leastways faras the relationship with mumndad went. Ndad came over all embarrassed n said wotr you doin? Asked wotr you doin? But he could only cry with the saliva n crumbs fallin in tiny spit-doughy bits to the ground. And then his mum cummin over wae the concerned motherhen look, focussed her mind taken from the argument of moments before.
But he had seen too much by now, he had heard too much by now and said – Nothing. Nothing at all thank-you. Things build up in a young boays head that can’t be contained without expression. So what do you do when the vocab is limited to the adolescent? You lean your head against the wall and cry like you’re not the man or tough guy that you try tae be. Erm across your eyes like some actor in a silent film. Show grief. Go on show grief Ö bit moreÖand now arm up Ö across the eyes leaning forward onto the wall Ö that’s itÖ
The sunshines that wintersun look that looks so winterwarm. Like someone sending their regards and bringing a smile to your face and a rush of memory makin you feel good and sad at the same time. Where does all that stuff hide in the universe? Like the bad stuffn all.
His heart was full to burstin an there was a stone in his throat hurtin like the devil. Just the devil.
Whit’s wrang wae him? she says. His mum no quite sure whit tone tae take. Feelin the situation with the aptitude of someone who can only work by instinct. And he thought of this dead quick like and that was a bit like his mum; somehow a bit outside herself. That’s if she wis a cross but she could’ve been the box.
But it wis never with the cross inside which is kinda whit mibbe we all waant tae be. Mibbe make us a bit safer n feel a bit merr waanted. But the cross is just for illustration in his mind it’s not a kiss and it’s not a religious reference.
It could quite easily have been but then the regular pentagon might be confused with a house and then it’s the whole familial thing. But then why not? It doesn’t get any closer to home really does it? So she’s concerned and ees da’s concerned and it’s real but they’re way outside their depth of understandin that a batterin of snipes and arguments can tangle up the boay’s emotions and make it that he can’t understand how cum ye cannae staun up in the street and keep it inside any longer.
But he cannae talk proper either it juist cums oot as ahmjuisttryacanah then it might as well be or some howl like a wolf or another animal cos that’s whit wis inside. Juist a mess ae mixed up stuff.
C’moan. Its awright. Lets go. People’ll sterr. C’moan.
And then there’s a sorta coughin sound but caught up wae a spasm where the stomach muscles giv a jolt: hrgmmm. He can’t do anything anymore that has any relation tae normal rules of communication and his da is lookin aboot the street wildly and people are lookin and people are no lookin well no it thame juist in the shoaps n aboot where ther gaun. And where his heid is n his eyes specially leanin heavy like intae his erm an it’s waarm whit wae his hoat breath cummin up it his face an it’s awright like this. An this is a perfectly adjusted intelligent young man wae the whole ae his life in front ae him bit he cannae pick it up cannae pick up any sense ae control. And a million things wur rammin intae his brain BAMBAMBAMBAMBAM or mibbe a machine gun RATATATATATATA!-in inside ae his noggin. And that noggin must weigh a ton cos he cannae lift it easily an he’s tryin but it juist isnae cummin and then it dis. It dis cum. It’s like it wis stuck oantae the sleeve wae glue. Fucksake his cheeks ur soaking an wae wee bitsa snotter stuck like stringsa rubber like he wance saw in the inside ae a golf baw.
So the cauld hits him like a blast an he’s staunin tryin tae remember whit wis it aw aboot? And he’s a bit skerred cos people didnae behave like that no in toon no in the street or the hoose or school or anywer. He’d niver seen it naer did ees ma or da.
Right, juist cmoan, lets get a move oan. We’ll get up the road.
Aye, that’s right, get up the road wer it’ll be continued cos it always happened like that the constant argument efter the toon the constant battlefield ae the kitchen an it wid blow yir heid apart.
Whit’s up wae him? Whit did you say?
Ah didnae say anythin. He juist started greetin like that.
Well ye must’ve sayed sumthin.
Well that’s that sorted then.If she saed ye sayed sumthin then ye must’ve saed sumthin. She didnae understaun thit he didnae hiv tae say anythin. And that made him feel no like the coamics saed yknow GRRRRR bit mer WWWWW. Cos it wis always the same an her no listenin tae him an him gien up in it aw cos he couldnae be bothered. No thit he hid that much tae say bit naer did she really juist people makin sounds tae make sure thir still alive. No juist that mibbe as well tellin other people thit ther ther.
Ees probly tired. Is that it son? Is that it?
Aye he thinks aye that’s it tired ae aw your fuckin snash. It wis like the weight ae the world juist pressin doon oan his whole body like. A bit like they’re pressin things thit they used tae torture people wae till thir whole insides splashed oot oan the flerr. SPLUCK! Ther ye go. An that wis his whole life that pressin and how much kin a boay take? How much is it possible fur any boay tae take? Bit that wis enough and it wis enough tae bring him tae this sorry state.
It didnae start aff like that, it niver did it wis juist the usual getin ready tae go intae toon tae get ees school shoes. An everyhin wis a bit chaotic okay, bit no that bad. The usual shoutin tae hurry up n get oot the door. Shoutin at him.
Ah know ye don’t want tae cum bit leave yir pals fur wan day.
So ees da did. Bit bein who he is he’s goat tae get dressed up intae a suit. The full bhoona ye know? Even doon tae cufflinks like he wis gaun oot fur the night. And then they wur aw staunin it the bus stoap waitin furra 64 intae toon. An it wis borin waitin oan the bus n it seemed tae take ages an it wis boarin wen they goat oan the bus wae neither ae them talkin. Bit that wis alwiz her no waantin tae get travel sick oan a twenty minute journey stickin a mint in her mooth n hivin a sook tae help stoap her vomitin. An he would juist be sterrin oot the windae thinkin thit he’d rether be sumwhere else. He’d hear that much later while they were spittin words at each other.
In the shoaps it wis panda-fuckin-monium. Noo that wis GRRRRR.
It felt a bit
when he waanted it tae be
You know, a lot freer, a lot cleaner. And that’s whit he waanted somethin a loat easier fur his heid. Bit it wis niver like that no it any time it wis aw messed up everythin.
When ae wis in school an the teacher explained sumthin an ee goat it that wis juist right.
You see no everythin hid tae be messed up juist most times people did it wae aw thir shite talk aboot no understaunin when they understaun or no learnin when it’s in front ae them. That wis the biggest problem no graspin sumthin that’s right in front ae thir coupons. And they aw did it and they did it and felt so fuckin good aboot themselves while they walked aroon as if they hid a hand whisk stuck up their arse. Whit did they dae tae feel so fuckin good aboot themsels? They goat aulder. Big fuckin deal. Even trees did that. Dumb beasts thit sway thir heids in the jungle at that moment of death hiv dun it. So whit’s the sketch? Naebody walks this earth like a colossus. Nae gods juist men. Nae gods juist men. Nae gods juist men. And women. And anywaey whit wid a god be daein in the middle-a toon in a Seturday efternin? Buyin fuckin shoes?
Ees da wis trying tae rush things in the second shoap. Nuthin boaded well. Sure enough the looks wur swapped, pure growls man, and a few cuttin comments. And then it juist snapped, it aw juist snapped. An ae wis eetin a cheese piece thit ees ma’d made up fore they went oot. Juist like a wee picnic. An the snarlin started an he couldnae cope any longer an it caught him swept him up and carried him intae a bad place where his heart juist hurt that bad and he fell fae the highest point on the planet. And that’s wer they wur, the three ae them tryin tae get things the gither, wen he wis spotted. Oot ae the whole toon the thousansapeople an ther’s a mate, a wee mucker fae school looking straight it im. Aw wet greetin-faced aboot tae go back tae school an he goat eye-balled. So that wid sit wae him the rest ae the weekend doin ees boax in. Whit wid they say? An they would say, cos that’s whit people did: they saed. The trouble wis thit naebody could get away fae the talk. In if it wis sumday else he’d be daein it tae. That’s the waey ah things. And nowt wis gonnae change it. It aw happened again and again no juist fur different people bit fur the same wans. An ees da would say yir born ye live ye die n it’s a cycle bit he thoat thit ees da shoulda saed everythin wis a cycle an we lived every thing again in again in again.
He wis staunin ther a bit numbed wae everythin like he juist waanted tae curl up oan the street n die or at least sleep fur a really long time, juist like Rip van Winkle. Ther wis a lucky man. Juist gauin intae sleep an that wis it, cos that wis some ae the boays best times: sleepin. Cooryin intae his wee bed an fa’in away intae sleep wer naebday could touch ye. Cos sumtimes everythin wis that hard tae take or go through or whitever. An he would waant sumtimes tae staun well ootside it, never be a part ae that shite. Staun like
forevernevernevernever . . . instid ah bein ther. And he put his haun oan the wa’ and let it take some ae ees weight cos he didnae feel that great. An ee knew thit he wis
ô Roy MacGregor 2008